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Experience in Public Goods Experiments

Author

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  • Anna Conte

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, and WBS, University of Westminster, EQM Department)

  • M. Vittoria Levati

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, and University of Verona, Department of Economics)

  • Natalia Montinari

    (Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, and Lund University, Department of Economics)

Abstract

We use information on students' past participation in economic experiments, as stored in our database, to analyze whether behavior in public goods games is affected by experience (i.e., previous participation in social dilemma-type experiments) and history (i.e., participation in experiments of a different class than the social dilemma). We have three main results. First, at the aggregate level, the amount subjects contribute and expect others to contribute decrease with experience. Second, a mixture model reveals that the proportion of unconditional cooperators decreases with experience, while that of selfish individuals increases. Finally, history also influences behavior, although to a lesser extent than experience. Our findings have important methodological implications for researchers, who are urged to control for subjects' experience and history in their experiments if they want to improve the external validity and replicability of their results.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Conte & M. Vittoria Levati & Natalia Montinari, 2014. "Experience in Public Goods Experiments," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-010, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
  • Handle: RePEc:jrp:jrpwrp:2014-010
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public goods experiments; Social preferences; Mixture models; Experience; History;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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